Porsche and Toyota have agreed to remain with the same chassis through the end of the 2019 FIA World Endurance Championship season, according to Porsche LMP1 team principal Andreas Seidl.
Seidl revealed that a gentleman’s agreement has been reached between the two current LMP1 manufacturers, primarily as a cost-saving measure, that will see the monocoques remain unchanged through the end of the current set of extended technical regulations.
“We both think, Toyota and us, that between the two monocoques we have, there’s not much difference in terms of aero, freedom and weight, and this is why we came to this agreement,” Seidl said.
“There’s still enough freedom in these regulations to have technical diversity.”
Both manufacturers unveiled its updated cars on Friday at Monza, site of this weekend’s Prologue pre-season test, with Porsche and Toyota only opting for evolutionary steps from last year.
Seidl said that a freeze in one of the more costly elements of car development shouldn’t detract from the on-track battles between the two current LMP1 manufacturers.
“It’s definitely one factor of spending, to do a new monocoque,” Seidl said. “In the end, I don’t think it will hurt the competition or the technical development of the cars.
“I think it’s a reasonable decision we’ve made together in agreement.”
While Toyota rolled out with a new tub design in 2016 with its all-new TS050 Hybrid, Porsche enters the third year with the same monocoque, which means it will likely complete a five-year run with the same base design.
The extension has come following the FIA and ACO’s decision to freeze the current set of regulations, which were initially set for an overhaul in 2018.
Despite this, Seidl, who also doubles as Porsche’s LMP1 technical director, believes there’s still room for development in the coming seasons.
“It’s still surprising how big the steps are again for this year,” he said. “We are now in the fourth year, but we’re still a young team.
“It’s only the fourth year that we’re doing such a car at Porsche.
“This is why we’re still finding steps on race car basics, like suspension, aerodynamics, cooling, etc., which has nothing to do with highly sophisticated hybrid system.
“For sure the steps will get smaller and smaller but we’re already seeing stuff now that we would do different for next year.”
Toyota team director Rob Leupen revealed on Friday that the Japanese manufacturer has extended its WEC commitment through 2019, while Seidl said Porsche is confirmed for at least for the next two years.
“At the moment, the project is signed off up until the end of 2018, which is a normal process in a big [company],” he said.
“The commitment is there from Porsche’s side, from the top management and also for a high-level motorsport program. It’s nothing that worries us for the moment.”
Discussions, meanwhile, are ongoing between the ACO, FIA and Peugeot, which could enter the championship by as early as 2020, when the new regulations are set to debut.